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What are organisations doing about housing disrepair claims?

What are disrepair claims?

As housing disrepair claims continue to grow, social housing providers are coming under increased pressure to try and tackle this pandemic. With compensation reaching up to £50,000 in certain cases, it is becoming increasingly important for social housing associations to provide effective repairs to counteract the claims.

Some landlords have seen increases in the frequency of claims by up to 400%, with firms being inundated with cases that they either cannot keep track of, or do not have efficient records to fight. In an effort to tackle these expensive and time consuming claims, the government has introduced legislation to avoid unnecessary litigation. The new legislation is making some progress in reducing the overall cost of the claims, but there is more that housing associations need to do to effectively reduce unnecessary claims.

Similar to personal injury, housing disrepair has become a popular target for ‘claim- farming’ law firms, that make quick claims that housing associations are not fully equipped to tackle. The sudden increase in these claims means that when tenants have a genuine disrepair claim, social housing associations cannot respond quickly to these. The aggressive and direct way that these newly formed law firms are attracting tenants is leading to this sharp increase in claims.

Why are Housing Associations struggling with Disrepair Claims?

Disrepair claims aren’t a new problem facing housing associations, but the sheer quantity of them makes it harder to effectively fight. Social housing associations generally have ineffective reporting systems or records. This lapse in record keeping is how disrepair claims are allowed to thrive and multiply.

The lack of paper trail that social housing providers keep in regards to repairs opens them up for scrutiny, claims and legal action against them. There is no quick fix to this problem. Housing associations must change their procedures and practices to effectively fight the unwarranted claims.

With the vast increase in these claims, an improved reporting procedure will be worthwhile cost effective.

What can be done?

Although the ‘claim farming’ firms are out of our control, there are measures that housing associations can take to try to reduce their susceptibility to these claims. These include:

  • Understand what your tenants rights are and how to adhere to them
  • Identify the risk areas within your organisation in relation to housing disrepairs
  • Improve multi-department communications
  • Increase advertising for repair channels
  • Implement an effective reporting system within your organisation

Is your organisation struggling with disrepair claims?

You may benefit from attending our ‘Effectively Reducing Disrepair Claims in Housing’ course. View available dates and locations here.

Attend this CPD Certified course led by Neil Brand, Partner at Bevan Brittan and experienced Housing Management Lawyer to develop a more effective repair framework in your association.

Get involved in the conversation!

Are you responsible for building disrepairs? Have you been affected by claim farming firms?

We’d love to hear from you. You can tweet us using #UMGTraining @UModernGov.

Can’t make the date?

We can also run this course for you In-house, at your organisation or a venue of your choice, on a date to suit you.

Contact our In-house training team on [email protected] or call 0800 542 9414 to find out more.